The Case of Natalee Holloway
Introduction: The missing white woman syndrome" theory
From the research of Dr. Carl Jung, a concept called cultural complex might help to explain the missing white woman syndrome (Conlin & Davie, 2015). By thoroughly going through random online articles, it can be deduced that white Blonde or Caucasian females have been seen to be an image of innocence throughout history with the help of literature, art and now the media. Random articles on Google, MSNBC and Google search engine scream of favoritism for missing white women and shows there has been a more positive and effective approach towards Natalee Holloway’s case, especially overhyped by the media. It is evident that it received a higher caliber and magnitude of investigation for her disappearance in comparison to other girls of her time. The varying colour of skin and hair of the females are the major factor for the sheer discrimination (Sommers, 2016). Therefore, it can be laid down that the Natalee Holloway case supports the missing white woman syndrome theory, as it had gathered excessive attention, by the publicity campaigns of Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother and heavy media coverage. While, many Asian, Latino and Black girls and women’s missing cases did not even see the light of police investigation or any attention from the media.
Beth Holloway’s Opportunity to become a celebrity
Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother had been on the news and in every media coverage pertaining to her daughter’s missing. She has continued searching her daughter till date, which has kept her presence bold and strong among the media even today. She has co-authored a book, ‘Loving Natalee: A Mother’s Testament of Hope and Faith’ with Sunny Tillman, which drew humongous publicity at that time. It was even adapted for producing a television movie, which gathered mass sympathy, and condolence for Natalee’s missing. The publicity helped to boost the investigation to a different level altogether, which deprived many other missing women of other race and ethnicity in the state. Beth’s tireless efforts to grab the national attention by publicizing her daughter’s missing actually paid off, as it had become the talk of the nation at some point. The overhyped publicity made Beth Holloway a celebrity overnight. However, it would be cruel to implicate that she took the opportunity of the missing of Natalee, her only child to become a celebrity. A hype or attention is what all mothers wish for, in order to get back their lost child. Therefore, it would be incorrect to say that Beth made use of her tragedy to become a national sensation, a celebrity.
Ethically, it does not look right when a tragedy-stricken family make use of the money generated from the books, journals and films related to their missing daughter. It gives an implication of commercialization of one’s own tragedy. Natalee Holloway’s family made ginormous amount of through Beth Holloway’s book, Loving Natalee: A mother’s Testament of Hope and Faith, which had been marketed by an alternative name with subtitles as The True Story of the Aruba Kidnapping and Its Aftermath. Additionally, the movie ‘Justice for Natalee Holloway’ had gathered a huge box office collection as well, to which the Holloway family has a chunk of share ("NPR Choice page", 2018). The huge sum of money made through the various media platforms tend to indicate that the family made a profitable venture out of their missing daughter’s case. It is undoubtedly, unethical from a family’s end to commercialize their own tragic life. However, there are instances where Beth Holloway have been seen to donate large sum of money to charities and NGOs who search missing girls all over the globe. This can be held to be a wise side of the family generating such huge amount of royalty from books, TV series and films centering the missing of Natalee Holloway.
Media’s ignorance of the facts that Natatee drank excessively
The US media and television networks had devoted a significant prime time slot for airing the investigation progress of Natalee Holloway. The media houses were evidently biased about the particular case as it fetched them greater attention and popularity among the citizens and this made the case to the national popularity list. Fox news and the Headline News program were among the prominent media houses who boosted the case to another level. Journalists have been called out and criticized openly for spamming the news feed with the same news of Natalee Holloway, months after months. The journalists had replied in their defense that it was not their duty to judge people’s news preference but to deliver what they want to see and know about. This was clearly an excuse given for supporting their intention of making money and gaining popularity out of the case. On the other hand, the media completely chose to ignore and highlight the fact that Natalee Holloway was into excessive drinking and led a reckless life, which could be known from her impaired judgment of getting drunk and getting into a car with strangers ("Dailymail", 2018). Yet, Beth Holloway too did not admit this fact about her daughter and went on highlighting the dangers of international travel. This clearly shows the ignorance, incompetency and shady activities of the media.
Other case on a missing person: similarities and the differences
The excessive media coverage saturated the time and room for other investigations that needed equal attention, if not more. The extensive media attention approved the allegation of the ‘missing white women syndrome’ theory, which argued to have disproportionately overhyped the investigation of white women in comparison to the women of other ethnicity and colour in the USA. Shanequa Quanee Sullivan of Newton County, Georgia went missing on February 4, 2018, which was officially reported by her parents after a month of searching ("Opinion | To Be Young, Missing And Black", 2018). The local police department conducted the search yet it did not gained the popularity it deserved to receive even when a girl aged around 12-17 went missing. Similarly, the story of missing black and Latina girls in Washington D.C. provides another instance of the ignorance of media towards covering for missing black girls ("Opinion | To Be Young, Missing And Black", 2018). The only redeeming quality of today’s world is the hyperactive social media run by common people who aim to highlight the ethical and unethical instance through their digital presence on the internet. Black people do not receive the coverage that they deserve compared to the white people, especially girls is a reality. It is sad but true.
Concluding by reviewing of the websites flooded with Natalee Holloway case
Various online news channels and websites are flooded with the missing story of Natalee Holloway even today. The Rolling Stone had been talking about the man who had claimed to have disposed of Natalee Holloway’s remains during March 2108 (Chen & Chen, 2018). The USA Today had been highlighting the same news at the same time. While in February, the Chicago Tribune was talking about Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother suing the TV show ‘The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway’ for $35 million ("Chicago Tribune", 2018). One of the latest being the People who published an article about ‘Vacation deaths and Mysteries’ which included the missing of Natalee Holloway in Aruba ("https://people.com/", 2018).
Therefore, it can be concluded that the Missing white women syndrome theory is just and rational which has the potential to draw people’s attention over a missing white girl’s story over 10 years now. It is unfortunate that several other similar stories get lost under the shadow of such over highlighted cases.
Chen, J., & Chen, J. (2018). Natalee Holloway: Man Linked to 2005 Disappearance Fatally Stabbed – Rolling Stone. Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/natalee-holloway-man-linked-to-2005-disappearance-fatally-stabbed-127892/
Chicago Tribune. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-natalee-holloway-tv-series-lawsuit-20180207-story.html
Conlin, L., & Davie, W. R. (2015). Missing White Woman Syndrome: How Media Framing Affects Viewers’ Emotions. Electronic news, 9(1), 36-50.
Dailymail. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4812976/Natalee-Holloway-case-breakthrough-van-der-Sloot-pal.html
https://people.com/. (2018). Retrieved from https://people.com/crime/vacation-murders-disappearances-madeleine-mccann-natalee-holloway/
NPR Choice page. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/04/13/523769303/what-we-know-and-dont-know-about-missing-white-women-syndrome
Opinion | To Be Young, Missing And Black. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-todd-missing-black-girls_us_5ab94c9ae4b054d118e5d690
Sommers, Z. (2016). Missing white woman syndrome: An empirical analysis of race and gender disparities in online news coverage of missing persons. J. Crim. L. & Criminology, 106, 275.